This photo is the last photo I have in my phone taken before March 11, 2020, the day widely considered the unofficial beginning of the pandemic here in the United States, the day before Utah Jazz basketball player Rudy Gobert tested positive and shut down the NBA, Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson revealed they had the virus, and President Trump sniffled his way through an error-riddled, deeply concerning Oval Office “speech.” Every aspect of that picture, taken during my family’s annual trip to St. Louis Cardinals spring training in Jupiter, Fla., screams Before Time. We’re at a stadium with thousands of fans in it. Everyone is crammed in next to one another. My children are smiling. This photo was taken a little more than eight months ago. But today it feels beamed in from another dimension.
Covid-19 has so upended every aspect of life on this planet, and we’ve been so spinning our collective wheels trying to get it under control (until recently, when America apparently decided to take the key out of the ignition and dive face first into the ditch), that it is easy to forget that someday this will all be over. Really, it will. And, considering the news that there are now two vaccines of 90 percent-plus effectiveness, that day may be closer than any of us had imagined. It could be here soon.
I know it is dangerous and scary in this particular moment to believe in the possibility of positive things happening in the world. But it’s looking like we may be out of this earlier than we thought. The time between now and then is going to be extremely rough, no question about it; it is alarming, looking at current Covid-19 trends, just how many of us who are here now will not be there then. But an end is in sight.
Thus, I can’t help but look back at that photo, from March 9, 2020. When will we be that carefree again? Will my sons and I be allowed back to spring training next year? How about the Final Four? What does Easter look like?
Using the current CDC timetable, the first supplies of the vaccine could be sent out as early as the end of this year. If we’re able to mass produce the vaccine(s) and figure out how best to deploy it — no small feat, particularly when the President-elect can’t get the guy he just beat to admit that he’s the guy he just beat—large swaths of the population could be vaccinated by February, or March. There’s a chance this could only last a year, in total.
So, for a welcome change of pace, let’s look on the bright side. Let’s look at some of the events, in a vaccinated world, that could be back on the table for us to enjoy next year.
St. Patrick’s Day, Passover, Palm Sunday, Spring Training, the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournament, South by Southwest.
It seems a little early to be back to normal in March, but it’s possible! Can you imagine if we have a vaccine by St. Patrick’s Day? Now that I think about it, that might be the best reason to lock yourself inside since Covid-19.
Easter, Academy Awards, Final Four, Earth Day, April Fool’s, Ramadan, Coachella, The Masters, Boston Marathon, Jazzfest, the release of the final Daniel Craig Bond movie
If Sony is releasing the Bond movie finally (it will have been delayed for nearly a year by April 2021), you’ll know everyone is comfortable being together in public again. It’s sure better than staying in your house watching stupid “Tiger King.”
Cinco de Mayo, Kentucky Derby, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day weekend.
Also, asking for a friend here, but this would be a great time for everyone to be vaccinated so authors who have novels coming out in May 2021 get to go on a book tour and meet everyone to promote the darned thing. Asking for a friend.
The point is: The world is ready for us to return. It’s not that far away. You’ve just got to hang in, everyone. We’ve almost made it. It might not be completely be normal at first. But someday, it will be back to the Before Times again. It may beel as if we never left. Just hang in.
Will Leitch will be writing multiple pieces a week for Medium. He lives in Athens, Georgia, with his family, and is the author of five books, including the upcoming novel “How Lucky,” released by Harper next May. He also writes a free weekly newsletter that you might enjoy.